Is Animal Testing for Cosmetics About to Disappear in the U.S.?

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The Humane Cosmetics Act, a bill that would make it unlawful in the U.S. to conduct animal testing for cosmetic purposes is gaining momentum.

HR 4148, as the bill is  formally known, was introduced by by Congressman Jim Moran, (D-VA). It is endorsed by The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund as well as leading personal care brands including Aubrey Organics, LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, Jack Black and Biao skincare. And the bill now has backing by a Republican sponsor, too: Michael Grimm (R-NY).

If passed, the bill would “enhance worldwide momentum in ensuring animals are not harmed in the process of creating or manufacturing cosmetics,” the Humane Society said in a statement. Not only would it make it unlawful to test any cosmetics or ingredients on animals, but it would also prohibit the sale and distribution of cosmetics “if the final product or any component was developed or manufactured using animal testing.”

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, said in a statement: “Americans deserve to have access to safe and humane products, and there is no compelling need for animal testing for cosmetics. We thank Congressman Moran for his leadership on this legislation, which will align the U.S. with the global trend moving away from animal testing of cosmetics. We have powerful and reliable alternatives available and it’s time to embrace those new technologies and stop harming animals for unnecessary reasons.”

Ricky Gervais, on behalf of The Humane Society of the United States’ Be Cruelty-Free USA campaign, is also urging the United States to end cosmetics animal testing, “I’m delighted to help The HSUS’ Be Cruelty-Free USA campaign to end the cruel and outdated practice of testing cosmetics on living animals. Rabbits and rodents forced to endure toxic cosmetics testing in U.S. laboratories, have no-one to speak up for them but us. So I urge all Americans to be their voice, support the Humane Cosmetics Act and make the U.S. the next cruelty-free cosmetics zone,” he said in a statement.

The EU, Israel and India have bans on animal testing for cosmetic purposes, and São Paulo, Brazil, recently signed into a law a bill that will prohibit animal testing for cosmetics. The country is also close to voting on a nationwide ban on animal testing. China, known for animal testing, has also recently announced that it will remove any “mandatory” animal testing rules for domestically produced cosmetics.

While the number of beauty brands that create quality products without the use of animal testing is rising, there are still thousands of cosmetic ingredients that are tested on animals. “Animal toxicity tests, which have never been validated by a regulatory body, represent an outdated science of techniques that are not adequate to predict human safety,” according to the Humane Society. “The future of safety testing relies on advanced technologies, including computational and human cell or artificial tissue based models, which are already in use,” notes the Humane Society. “These methods are based on human biology and are more predictive of human reactions than animal tests.” In fact, it’s a pretty good guarantee that if a beauty product has undergone animal testing, it’s probably not the healthiest for your skin or body anyway. It’s certainly no good for the animals.

Find Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

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Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites and, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better.